Day 1 in California

25 May

We landed in SFO yesterday. The international airport there is much nicer than JFK. We always fly Virgin America which lands in the international section of the airport. I highly recommend Virgin America, the planes interiors are much nicer than other comparative low-priced airlines. I sat in the middle seat this time which wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. If I had a choice, I always pick an aisle seat. I’m mildly claustrophobic and also hate disturbing strangers if I need to use the restroom.

Brian’s apartment is in San Mateo and the complex is really nice. His windows face three gorgeous palm trees, a citrus fruit tree (not sure what type) and another unknown fruit tree that feeds birds. If you know what the fruit are, let me know if it tastes good!

There are lots of squirrels too including the aggressive black squirrels. They like to chase each other up and down the palm trees, spiraling around to avoid each other.

there are 2 squirrels here

Since Brian’s apartment is really close to downtown San Mateo, there are tons of restaurants to sample from. There’s a high concentration of Japanese restaurants in particular. I estimated around 15 Japanese restaurants the last time I was here, which is a huge number considering how small downtown actually is.

While I’m going to try to cook as much as possible to save money and eat healthier, we also like to eat out. It takes a lot of planning to cook in Brian’s kitchen since it’s not well stocked so sometimes we’re too lazy to cook, especially since there are so many affordable restaurants to pick from. So you can expect a lot of posts about restaurants!

For lunch on day 1, we ate at Old Town Sushi in downtown San Mateo. It was the cheapest Japanese restaurant I’ve been to and even though it’s run by Chinese people, the food was good.

We ordered the Shioyaki bento box and the Number One roll to share.

shioyaki with shrimp and veggie tempura

The shioyaki was done very nicely with crispy skin. The shrimp tempura wasn’t that great, the only good tempura were the sweet potato and kobucha pumpkin. It also came with salad, rice and 3 pieces of California roll (didn’t like). See here for full picture.

Number One roll

The Number One roll was really tasty for a super-sized American style sushi roll. The roll consisted of shrimp, avocado, crab salad inside with half salmon and half tuna on top and covered in more crab salad, scallions, black sesame and a mild hot sauce. While it was good, we ended up not eating most of the crab salad on top. I think it’s the same crab they use in the California rolls, which I didn’t like. They also gave us a free bowl of edamame once we sat down along with rice green tea.

miso soup came with the bento box

Brian went back to work and I did some shopping. I went to the thrift store and got hangers and a small ironing board for $5 total. After work, we went grocery shopping at an awesome Asian supermarket called Ranch 99. $30 worth of groceries earned us $3 for their hot deli section so we got the most delicious loaf red bean swirl Taiwanese bread. Yum, the perfect breakfast.

For dinner we ate in Mountain View because Brian is cat-sitting three adorable cats for a friend. We also got a hot roasted oolong milk bubble tea at Tea Era. I have lots of pics but don’t want to bombard this post so I’ll try to post more later if we go back. Dinner was at Pho Garden, home of the pho challenge.

There were so many people attempting the pho challenge, which was to finish 2 lbs of noodles and 2 lbs of beef in one hour (don’t need to finish soup). If they win, they get to keep the giant bowl and a t-shirt, if they lose, they get the t-shirt. You could also order that dish for multiple people to share but you don’t win anything if you finish. I totally think my brother would try this if he were here. I sneaked a picture of these guys who were just starting. Look here for a picture of them signing the contract (several pages long).

pho challenge

I had the Garlic Noodles with Five Spice Chicken. The chicken was great! The noodles were coated in garlic powder.. I was not expecting that. I would have preferred real garlic or some kind of garlic sauce.

5 spice chicken garlic noodles

Brian got the Beef Pho. It’s very important that the soup broth is tasty and this one was. I saved the leftover sprouts and Thai basil to make some summer rolls later. My excuse: the basil and sprouts were sold in huge packs at the supermarket! ^_^

beef pho

We’re having leftovers for lunch and going to Amanda’s home for a family dinner today. I made sai mai lo so I’ll post that tomorrow if I remember to take pictures. Thanks for reading!

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2 Responses to “Day 1 in California”

  1. tofugirl May 25, 2010 at 8:37 pm #

    Oh my gosh, look at the SIZE of those bowls of pho!!!! Gah!! I’m not even joking, I think those are bigger than my sink. Nice photos 😀

  2. Karu May 26, 2010 at 10:08 am #

    Hi Eula! Glad to hear that everything is going so well and am looking forward to your restaurant reviews! I especially liked the squirrel pic ^^

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